Russell Wilson

Give Torrey Smith an MVP vote

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Give Torrey Smith an MVP vote

Torrey Smith doesn't get an MVP vote, but if he did, we know where it would go. 

He thinks the honor belongs to Carson Wentz. 

In the Eagles' locker room on Thursday, Smith volunteered his opinion that Wentz should be the 2017 NFL MVP, despite Wentz's missing the final three games of the season after with a torn ACL. 

"Absolutely," Smith said. "And I'm biased too. I'll tell you that, I am biased. I think he still should be, even with the missed games. I mean, what he meant to this team, what he was actually able to do and he missed two games. 

"It's pretty crazy. Because he probably wouldn't have played the last game if he was there. He missed two games. Still was right up at the top of everything else. I think it says a lot about him."

Smith actually brings up a good point. Had Wentz not been injured, he very likely wouldn't have played in the regular-season finale anyway, which means his ACL injury forced him to miss only two games in the regular season instead of three. 

Wentz finished his season with 3,296 passing yards and 33 touchdown passes. Only Russell Wilson threw more touchdown passes (34) and it took him all 16 games. Wentz is just 19th in passing yards but fourth in passer rating (101.9) behind just Alex Smith (104.7), Drew Brees (103.9) and Tom Brady (102.8). 

It seems like Wentz's biggest competition for the MVP might be two-time winner Brady, who had another stellar season. 

So why would Smith take Wentz over Brady? 

"Tom Brady's the G.O.A.T. though. He is the G.O.A.T.," Smith said. "But Carson was able to make plays athletically that Tom can't physically do, even though he's the greatest quarterback ever. Carson plays the game differently and what he's meant to us on third down, when he's scrambling, the crazy plays he's made. It's not like he's Vick or anything, but the way he makes those plays, it was huge for us. 

"At times we were struggling and those plays turn into opening the gates. He's made some amazing plays all year. I don't know, put their highlight tapes together and see what you think."

The Eagles haven't had an MVP since Norm Van Brocklin won it back in 1960, so it's been a pretty long wait. 

This year's MVP award will be announced Feb. 3, the day before the Super Bowl. 

Unfortunately, although Smith thinks Wentz deserves the award, he doesn't think he's going to get it. 

"No. Because he missed a couple games," Smith said, "but I think he's the MVP."

The case for and against Carson Wentz still winning MVP

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The case for and against Carson Wentz still winning MVP

The case for Carson Wentz still winning MVP (Corey Seidman)

Prior to Monday Night Football, Bovada listed Tom Brady as the MVP favorite and Carson Wentz was no longer listed. Had the Patriots blown out the Dolphins as many expected, Brady would have surged into the MVP lead.

But he didn't. The Patriots' offense couldn't get anything going, failing to convert a single third down for the first time since 1991.

And even though Brady will probably play three more games this season than Carson Wentz, I still think Wentz can and will win MVP.

There are a bunch of reasons why.

1. Wentz led his team to an 11-2 record and put it in position to clinch the top seed in the conference, and the Eagles don't even have to be perfect the rest of the way to do it.

2. The key play that could end up enabling the Eagles to get home-field advantage through the playoffs was that gutsy touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery. Which Wentz delivered with a torn ACL. And which set the Eagles' franchise record for TD passes in a season. 

That kind of mystique matters come awards time.

3. Brady was a legitimate contender for the MVP award last season when he played just 12 games because of the four-game suspension. He finished second in MVP voting with 10 votes, behind Matt Ryan's 25.

4. Aside from Wentz and Brady, who are even the top candidates for MVP this season? Russell Wilson? His team isn't even currently in the playoffs. Antonio Brown? A wide receiver has never won MVP, even though Brown is deserving of breaking that trend. If Brown goes off against the Patriots on Sunday, it might make him the frontrunner. 

Standing in his way, however, is the tremendous success of his own teammate, Le'Veon Bell. Bell and Brown each have nine total touchdowns, and Bell has 1,684 yards from scrimmage compared to Brown's 1,518. How would you justify giving it to Brown over his equally deserving teammate?

If one of Brady, Bell or Brown has an enormous game Sunday, they could catapult to the top of the list. But if they have just an average game, Wentz will remain toward the top.

5. Voter fatigue is real with Brady, and this isn't even shaping up to be one of his best seasons. His 105.2 passer rating is just the fifth-highest of his career. His 27-to-6 touchdown to interception ratio is just the fifth-best of his career. His yards per attempt are fourth-best.

• • •

The case against Carson Wentz still winning MVP (Dave Zangaro)

The Eagles haven't had an MVP since the 1960 season, when Norm Van Brocklin took the honor. 

They'll have to wait at least one more season. 

Because when Wentz went down on Sunday night, his MVP chances went too. 

Sure, the Eagles' quarterback had a really good first 13 games. His team went 11-2. He threw for 3,296 yards, with 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Those are really good numbers. 

But he just didn't play enough. 

The last time an NFL MVP played just 13 or fewer games was 1989, when Joe Montana won his first of two straight. Since then, of the 29 MVPs all 29 have played at least 14 games and 23 of them have played all 16. 

Sure, Brady finished second in MVP voting last season after playing just 12 games. But he didn't win it. And that was after 12 games in which he threw for over 3,500 yards, with 28 touchdowns and just two interceptions. His passer rating in those 12 games was 112.2. Wentz's this season was 101.9. 

What's even more notable was that Brady's 12 games in 2016 came in the last 12 games of the season after missing the first four because of suspension. When voting happened, Brady was still on the forefront of everyone's mind, leading his team into the playoffs. Wentz won't be forgotten, but recency has even more pull than mystique in voting. 

And then there are the candidates this year. Brady is the clear frontrunner. He's having another tremendous season. No, he didn't perform well on Monday night, but do you really expect him to not play well down the stretch? 

And the crazy thing about Brady is he's widely considered the greatest quarterback of all time, but has just two MVP awards. To put that in perspective, Peyton Manning has five, while Jim Brown, Johnny Unitas and Brett Favre each have three. Brady is tied with Steve Young, Kurt Warner, Joe Montana and Aaron Rodgers with two. 

So in some cases, voter fatigue might be a real thing, but in this case, it would make sense to see Brady get another one. 

Really, the way Wentz's worth to the Eagles would easily be proven is if the Eagles completely collapse down the stretch with Nick Foles. But with games against the Giants, Raiders and Cowboys, that seems unlikely. The Eagles win, Wentz loses. 

But there's always next year ... and the year after that.

NFL power rankings roundup: Eagles take big step back after loss

NFL power rankings roundup: Eagles take big step back after loss

After blowing out the Bears, 31-3, in Week 12, the Eagles traveled to Seattle for a Sunday night matchup against the Seahawks. The Birds lost for the first time since Week 2 after a disappointing performance, 24-10.

The loss to the Seahawks puts the Birds at 10-2. They now are tied with the Vikings for the best record in the NFC. They are also tied with the Steelers, Patriots and Vikings for the best record in the NFL.

Now the Eagles shift their attention to the 9-3 Los Angeles Rams for a Sunday afternoon matchup in L.A. 

Here’s a roundup of where the Eagles landed in this week's national power rankings after Week 13:

ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio: Down three spots to No. 4
Florio wrote, “Fly, Eagles, fly. Right into a Wolf Grey window.”

This was the first time since Week 2 in which the Eagles looked nervous and scattered on all fronts. Carson Wentz was missing throws he would have made earlier in the season and he just wasn’t as sharp. It doesn’t help that he was running from Seahawks pass rushers for the majority of the night. I don’t believe there is cause for concern unless they struggle against the Rams this week.

NFL.com's Elliot Harrison: Down one spot to No. 2
Harrison wrote, “The first dip in these here rankings since Week 3 for the Eagles — and the first time not in the top spot since Week 8. The Eagles have been perched atop the league's hierarchy because of their balance on offense and defense, as well as the MVP play of the quarterback. All three factions were marginalized by the Seahawks on Sunday night.”

This was the most points the Eagles' defense allowed since Week 2. The 24 points allowed were also matched in the Redskins, Giants and Chargers games in Week 1, Week 3 and Week 4, respectively. Russell Wilson has been having arguably his best season thus far and the Seahawks were able to take shots down the field in the passing game. 

USA TODAY: Down four spots to No. 5
USA TODAY wrote, “They're lucky NFL doesn't use college football playoff system. Philly's resume highly suspect with just one win against teams currently above .500.”

That one win against a team that is currently above .500 was the Week 6 victory over the Panthers. The Eagles were tested against the Seahawks and it showed. Yes, there were some situations that didn’t go their way like the Wentz fumble at the goal line and the Wilson “lateral” that actually was a forward pass. But in the end, the Eagles didn’t look good and will have a chance to right the ship against the Rams.

Yahoo! Sports' Frank Schwab: Down one spot to No. 2
Schwab wrote, “This is how quick the NFL can turn: The Eagles were on top of the world before they kicked off against the Seahawks on Sunday night. In an eight-day stretch, they could go from leading the NFL to needing help over the last three weeks to get a bye.”

Right now the Vikings would have the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage as a result of tiebreakers. Things could really change quickly with a loss to the Rams, so it is vital that the Eagles walk away from this West Coast road trip 1-1. The game against the Rams will say a lot about where the Eagles stand against the best teams in the NFL.

The Washington Post's Mark Maske: Down three spots to No. 4
Maske wrote, “The Eagles are still a very good team, even after the defeat in Seattle. They still have a chance to secure the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. But they might not be the conference’s Super Bowl favorite any longer.”

A strong defense and the emergence of Case Keenum and Adam Thielen have the Vikings as one of the best teams in the NFL. They have a decent chance to be the first team to host the Super Bowl and play in it as well. The key to the Eagles’ Super Bowl chances is playing all postseason games at the Linc. Having to travel to New Orleans, Minnesota or Seattle could pose problems for the Eagles’ Super Bowl hopes.

ESPN: Down one spot to No. 2
ESPN wrote, “First-round pick Derek Barnett has 5.0 sacks this season, but the Eagles are getting big production from rookies they didn't even draft. Undrafted rookie Corey Clement has six touchdowns and Jake Elliott, who was drafted by the Bengals, has gone 19-of-23 on field goals, including a game-winning 61-yarder in Week 3.”

Speaking of big production, I think one of the best stories this year for the Eagles has to be wide receiver Nelson Agholor. He had seven receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks, and his emergence after a terrible 2016 has been a great story to follow. The USC product has been making good on the Eagles taking him in the first round.